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Back to School Hacks 2021
It's official, parents; back to school is here! I talked about ways to save on back to school shopping recently, and now, I want to go over some ways that will save you time and money this school year. Let's get started.
Prep Meals In Advance
It sounds simple, but I'm not just talking about packing lunch the night before school. You can dedicate one day per week to do some of the major prep work and leave only what you have to do the night before. For example, pack chips, crackers, raisins, and more into little bags or containers once per week, perhaps on Sunday. You could have a few pre-packaged items at the ready, too, so all that's left is to make the sandwich, wrap, or other main dish. After that, you can simply assemble your pre-made items into your kiddo's lunch box along with the main item, and lunch was packed more quickly and efficiently.
Prepare Breakfast Before Bed
Here's another hack to save you time each morning before sending the kids to school. If you're looking for more nutritious and balanced breakfasts than sugary cereals or Pop Tarts, but don't have the time to cook an all-out meal, consider making overnight meals. Overnight cold oats or breakfast parfaits are delicious and nutritious overnight options. It's also more cost effective than ready-made items and there's no microwave or toaster required. You simply assemble your ingredients in a mason jar and your kids can grab what you made the night before from the refrigerator when it's breakfast time.
Plan Your Kids' Outfits
If your children aren't old enough to coordinate outfits, do yourself a favor and plan them once a week in advance. You can easily put each outfit together neatly and store each day's ensemble in/on your child's dresser. This makes getting dressed in the morning easy and seamless and better organizes your family's laundry.
Help Out Your Older Kids With These Hacks
For those parents with teenagers in middle and high school who take care of these tasks for themselves, encourage them to try these hacks, too. Encourage them to pack lunch items and plan outfits in advance. Another great tip to share with them would be encouraging them to use a screenshot of their new schedule as the lock screen on their phone, if they're allowed to use phones outside of class. This way, there's no risk of losing a paper schedule and it's always easily accessible and available. This will help them learn their new schedule and class routes faster — and with less ‘new school year jitters.'
Establish Studying and Homework as Mandatory
Make sure, especially with younger kids, that you make homework and studying a necessary and constant part of the routine. You want to stress early on that these activities must be done before anymore playing around until bath and bedtime.
A few hacks that might help to establish this routine might be color coding clocks to tell your young child when it's time to snack, time to play, time to do homework, etc. Another idea would be to create a daily checklist they need to complete and hand to you by dinner to indicate they did their homework and studied, among other things. Think of creative and effective ways to encourage your kid to take homework seriously and to do it each day.